This post is part of a continuing series in which we break down 13 2011 NFL Draft prospects - our Baker's Dozen - that should interest the Buffalo Bills. Keep up to date on our Baker's Dozen series here.
The Buffalo Bills transitioned to a 3-4 defense in 2010. The lack of personnel to fit the scheme forced Chan Gailey and defensive coordinator George Edwards to play more 4-3 defense as the year wore on. While GM Buddy Nix will continue to draft personnel for the 3-4 defense, Gailey has said that the team will run a multiple front defense. The hiring of Dave Wannstedt, historically a 4-3 coach, reinforces the point. I expect Buffalo to run three to four variations of their defense. Here's how North Carolina junior Robert Quinn would fit in.
This is the base 3-4 defense employed by members of the Bill Parcells coaching tree. This defense is very stout when the three defensive linemen are capable of playing two-gap assignments, but is vulnerable to two-tight end offenses.
3-4 Over (also known as the 4-3 Over)
This defense is effective at penetrating and disrupting the offense, but can be run against effectively by teams that can rush with power.
This is a difficult defense to play against when run effectively, as seen in New York and Philadelphia. Effective West Coast or possession-passing teams that can protect the quarterback can beat this defense.
Robert Quinn at OLB in the Bullough-Fairbanks 3-4 Defense
Quinn is used to playing in a three-point stance without pass coverage responsibilities. In this position, Quinn is playing in a position that puts him one-on-one with the offensive tackle most downs, and limits him to one gap responsibility. This unleashes Quinn onto the offense. Quinn is fluid enough to drop into pass coverage, though he won't be confused with Darryl Talley in zones.
Quinn at OLB in the 30 Over Defense
The "Jack" outside linebacker in Buffalo's scheme puts his hand on the ground and positions himself as a de facto defensive end. While lined up in the outside linebacker spot, this position offers the same benefits for Quinn as lining up at outside linebacker in the base 3-4: rush opportunities. Different than Da'Quan Bowers, there is ability to disguise this defense, though, as Quinn has drop ability.
Quinn at Defensive End in a 46 Defense
This is the best fit for Quinn, putting him in his natural end position.
Quinn is a tremendous athlete that will fit in as a 'tweener outside linebacker/defensive end. At best, Quinn could be a Willie McGinest-type outside linebacker: mostly rushing, but sometimes dropping into the flats or short zones, with limited effect in coverage. Quinn can also put his hand in the dirt and line up at end, rushing or even dropping on zone blitzes.
When Buffalo talks about being a multiple defense, playing different defenses with the same personnel, Quinn is the type of player that could make that defense work.